Feb 07 2006

Democrats Surrender On NSA

Published by at 7:49 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

For all the bloviating on the left, the Democrats gained nothing on the NSA yesterday. They trotted out a bunch of ‘what if’ tales of woe to no avail. What if a comet kills off all life tomorrow? What if terrorists hit us again? No one wants to live their life in fear. Without a victim of surveillance, other than the confessed Al Qaeda agent planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, the only people at risk are people talking to possible terrorists.

The truth is this includes journalists and this issue, at its core, is a media driven paranoia. The Democrats ended up simply wanting more oversight – which Bush will pay lip service to. The Democrats cannot demonstrate the ultimate concern over ‘domestic spying’ on terrorists overseas (what an oxymoron). To do that would require calls to shut the program down and they know what that would mean.

If this was a crime against America and a step towards the end of civilization, the Democrats would propose legislation to end it and end it now. But they won’t. Because the administration holds a trump card. The Democrats know that the real order post 9-11 was not to change the NSA’s targets of surveillance – they are doing what they have done for at least 3 decades.

What changed was Bush simply ordered the NSA to pass to the FBI the leads they get on persons in the US from monitoring terrorists overseas – instead of the historic process of destroying those leads. The Democrats know this and that is why they will never be true to their propaganda.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Democrats Surrender On NSA”

  1. BIGDOG says:

    Gonzalles transcript. AJ note some good details in here that you have mentioned, and confirmed by Gonzalles. Interesting read, oh and note the spin from Leahy. After G-man is done with his speech, the way he makes Leahy out to be an ass, was to easy.


    “While the president approved this program to respond to the new threats against us, he also imposed several important safeguards to protect the privacy and the civil liberties of all Americans.

    First, only international communications are authorized for interception under this program. That is communications between a foreign country and this country.

    Second, the program is triggered only when a career professional at the NSA has reasonable grounds to believe that one of the parties to a communication is a member or agent of Al Qaida or an affiliated terrorist organization. As the president has said, if you’re talking with Al Qaida, we want to know what you’re saying.

    Third, to protect the privacy of Americans still further, the NSA employs safeguards to minimize the unnecessary collection and dissemination of information about U.S. persons.

    Fourth, this program is administered by career professionals at NSA, expert intelligence analysts and their senior supervisors with access to the best available information. They make the decisions to initiate surveillance. The operation of the program is reviewed by NSA lawyers, and rigorous oversight is provided by the NSA inspector general.

    I have been personally assured that no other foreign intelligence program in the history of NSA has received a more thorough review.

    Fifth, the program expires by its own terms approximately every 45 days. The program may be reauthorized, but only on the recommendation of intelligence professionals, and there must be a determination that Al Qaida continues to pose a continuing threat to America based on the latest intelligence.

    Finally, the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees has known about this program for years.”

    “To be sure, FISA allows the government to begin electronic surveillance without a court order for up to 72 hours in emergency situations or circumstances.

    But before that emergency provision can be used, the attorney general must make a determination that all of the requirements of the FISA statute are met in advance.

    This requirement can be cumbersome and burdensome.

    Intelligence officials at NSA first have to assess that they have identified a legitimate target. After that, lawyers at NSA have to review the request to make sure it meets all the requirements of the statute. And then lawyers at the Justice Department must also review the request and reach the same judgment or insist on additional information before processing the emergency application.

    Finally I, as attorney general, must review the request and make the determination that all of the requirements of FISA are met.

    But even this is not the end of the story.

    Each emergency authorization must be followed by a detailed formal application to the FISA courts within three days. The government must prepare legal documents laying out all of the relevant facts and law and obtain the approval of a Cabinet-level officer as well as a certification from a senior official with mass security responsibility, such as the director of the FBI.

    Finally, a judge must review, consider and approve the application.

    All of these steps take time. Al Qaida, however, does not wait.

    While FISA is appropriate for general foreign intelligence collection, the president made the determination that FISA is not always sufficient for providing the sort of nimble early-warning system we need against Al Qaida.

    Just as we can’t demand that our soldiers bring lawyers onto the battlefield, let alone get the permission of the attorney general or a court before taking action, we can’t afford to impose layers of lawyers on top of career intelligence officers who are striving valiantly to provide a first line of defense by tracking secretive Al Qaida operatives in real time.”

  2. BIGDOG says:

    Oh and this made me smile…:)

    G-man said:

    ” The words contained in the force resolution do not limit the president to employing certain tactics against Al Qaida. Instead, they authorize the use of all necessary and appropriate force.

    Nor does the force resolution require the president to fight Al Qaida only in foreign countries. The preamble to the force resolution acknowledges the continuing threat, quote, “at home and abroad.”

    Congress passed the force resolution in response to a threat that emerged from within our own borders. Plainly, Congress expected the president to address that threat and to do so with all necessary and appropriate force.

    Importantly, the Supreme Court has already interpreted the force resolution in the Hamdi case. There the question was whether the president had the authority to detain an American citizen as an enemy combatant and to do so despite a specific statute that said that no American citizen could be detained except as provided by Congress.

    A majority of the justices in Hamdi concluded that the broad language of the force resolution gave the president the authority to employ the traditional incidents of waging war. Justice O’Connor explained that these traditional powers include the right to detain enemy combatants and to do so even if they happen to be American citizens.

    If the detention of an American citizen who fought with Al Qaida is authorized by the force resolution as an incident of waging war, how can it be that merely listening to Al Qaida phone calls into and out of the country in order to disrupt their plots is not?”

    and my point i tried making really clear.

    G-man said:

    “More recently, in 2002, the FISA Court of review explained that, quote, “All the other courts who have decided the issue have held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain intelligence information.”

  3. BurbankErnie says:

    The Dems in the Senate are just playing to their base. Their isn’t one logical point nor legal basis for their posturing, it is only for the masses that they are playing this up. They (the Senate Boys) are not even listening to the testimony.

    BTW, if you get more links from the “Big Boys”, don’t let the hits go to your head!!! We need you to stay focused and tell the underside of these issues. Don’t go “Hollywood” on us!!

    OK, Congrats on being noticed. Your work is strong and it is starting to attract. Well done.

  4. lawhawk says:

    The Albany Times Union is reporting that the lawyers in the Albany terror case against two folks caught in an FBI sting are filing papers to determine whether they got snared by the NSA eavesdropping program – they claim that they’ve done nothing wrong, although information linking back to the duo was allegedly found at an Iraqi terror camp. More at my blog here.